India should not be complacent about drone attacks on the junta in Myanmar

A series of recent drone strikes on top of Myanmar military figures reflects a strategic shift in the offensive launched by multiple Bamar ethnic and armed groups, insofar as the priority now appears to be taking the fight to the heart of the military junta of the country.

The armed groups against the regime had focused on expanding areas of territorial control in remote areas since the start of the 1027 Brotherhood Alliance’s offensive last fall. But since early April, they have focused more on attacks at the center of the military regime’s administrative structure.

Drone attacks

Senior generals in Myanmar have been targeted by opposition drone strikes in recent days, reinforcing the impression that the regime is under intense survival pressure and that the country’s long-running civil war is entering a decisive final phase.

Even if Myanmar’s military junta remains in power longer than now expected, they are looking not only at a massive loss of territory, especially in strategic border areas, but also at drone strikes and attempted individual assassinations of junta figures that could impact on the army’s power base. .

Vice Senior General Soe Win, the second-ranking officer in the military regime, was attacked by opposition drone swarms while attending a meeting at a military facility in Mon state on Monday and Tuesday. Soe Win was reportedly injured and his parked helicopter was damaged.

A spokesperson for the People’s Defense Forces, affiliated with the parallel Government of National Unity, told this writer that two drones crashed into buildings at the facility on Monday and that on April 16, five drones rammed into buildings and a helicopter at the same facility.

Previous event

The attacks followed an attack in the same state on Saturday, April 20, when General Mya Tun Oo’s convoy was hit by a bomb dropped by a drone.

He is one of the regime’s top five. An army spokesman admitted that a luxury van was damaged, but the general – who is also the country’s deputy prime minister and minister of transport and communications – was unhurt.

The Karen National Defense Organization, an armed ethnic minority group in Myanmar’s eastern Kayin state, confirmed its involvement in the attack. The spokesperson admitted that they had prior knowledge of the planned inspection by Mya Tun Oo and others of the new airport in Mon.

Two key factors

These drone strikes point to two key factors that could decisively turn the tide against the military junta. First, it points to greater coordination among the vast array of opposition forces and some evidence of coordinated centralized planning in attacking pre-selected targets. Second, it shows that the opposition now has solid information about the junta’s movements and plans, which helps them carry out drone strikes.

These drone strikes were carried out days after more than a dozen drones attacked army headquarters and a base in Naypyitaw on April 4. A state daily said these drones were intercepted by the military regime’s forces and that no facilities were damaged.

But the private home of military chief Min Aung Hlaing was reportedly in their crosshairs.

Surprise attacks

The plains around Naypyitaw and Yangon are considered a disadvantage for the resistance forces. Although they are strong in guerrilla warfare in the mountains, they are far inferior to the military when it comes to heavy equipment such as tanks. The use of drones enables surprise attacks on the military regime’s facilities and key personnel.

Separately, photos shared on social media on Thursday, April 18 by the Karen National Union, a prominent anti-regime force, show weapons and ammunition draped with the flag of the Myanmar Army’s 275th Battalion, indicating the group has committed surrendered to the resistance forces in Myawaddy. , along the Thai border.

The photos on social media were posted after hundreds of Myanmar soldiers and their relatives surrendered to the KNU, and after officials reportedly began evacuating them over the weekend.

India’s answer

India should not be complacent about the increase in drone strikes by the Myanmar opposition.

Since some of these ethnic rebel armies have strong links with rebel groups in Northeast India, some shipments of drones, such as the Alpha Bats, supplied to Myanmar rebels by US and Western intelligence agencies could be passed on to Indian rebels. To ensure that this does not happen, Indian intelligence agencies must covertly contact these groups and ensure that they do not help their ethnic brethren in Northeast India.

India must anyway connect with these groups, such as the Arakan Army, because their increasing territorial control means that Delhi cannot complete its ambitious connectivity projects through Myanmar without managing these rebel groups.

(The Federal attempts to present views and opinions from all sides of the spectrum. The information, ideas or opinions contained in the articles are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of The Federal.)